Mosquitoes are annoying insects that can bother anyone and bite everyone, from babies to adults. While mosquito bites are often relatively harmless, they can itch and cause severe discomfort to your baby. However, depending on where you live, mosquitoes can also carry dangerous diseases such as dengue and malaria. You can protect your child from mosquitoes with the help of special repellents and thoughtful protection of the surrounding space from these insects.
Part 1 of 2: Keeping mosquitoes off your baby's skin
Step 1. Avoid using any flavored products
Mosquitoes are attracted to the scent of many cosmetics, including the smell of soap, perfume, and even hairspray. Use unscented products to avoid attracting mosquitoes to your baby. Before using any product, smell it or read the information on the label to make sure that there is no or a minimum amount of fragrances.
Step 2. Dress your child in protective clothing
If you are going to be outdoors for a long time (where there are many mosquitoes), put on a loose long-sleeved shirt and trousers. Such clothing alone or in combination with chemical or natural repellents will help prevent mosquito bites.
- Wear light-colored, moderately loose clothing. This will reduce the risk of mosquitoes biting through the tissue and reaching the skin. Make sure that as much of the baby's skin as possible is covered with clothing. Use long pants, long-sleeved shirts, socks, and closed shoes. You may also want to protect your baby's head with a hat.
- Avoid bright and floral clothing that can attract mosquitoes.
Step 3. Use diethyltoluamide repellents if your baby is at least two months old
Chemical repellents based on diethyltoluamide (or N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide, or DEET) are considered by doctors to be the best protection against mosquito and other insect bites. However, due to considerations of the safe concentration of diethyltoluamide for children, such agents should be used with caution. Do not use them to protect children under two months of age.
- Apply diethyltoluamide products every 2-5 hours, depending on the specific concentration of the substance. For example, a 10 percent concentration of diethyltoluamide will protect a child for about two hours, while a 24 percent concentration will provide protection for a child for about five hours. Apply Diethyltoluamide repellent to your baby sparingly, covering all exposed skin except around the eyes and mouth. Do not apply the product to parts of the hands that your child might pull into their mouth or want to scratch their eyes with.
- Do not use products with a Diethyltoluamide concentration of 30% or higher on a child. Many experts believe that a 10 percent concentration is better for greater safety. You should also avoid using sunscreens containing diethyltoluamide, as it can render sun protection ineffective and lead to sunburn. In addition, sunscreens usually require more frequent use, which can result in too much exposure to diethyltoluamide.
- Do not use diethyltoluamide products on babies younger than two months old. Instead, look for natural repellents and take the time to protect your environment from mosquitoes.
- Talk to your doctor if you have any questions about using Diethyltoluamide repellents to protect your little one.
Step 4. Use a picaridin repellent
In 2005, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that picaridine repellents were as safe as diethyltoluamide. However, since this substance is still quite new, at the moment it is found only in imported repellents. Picaridin is a synthetic substance derived from peppers (the same pepper that people use as a spice). If you are concerned about using a Diethyltoluamide repellent, consider using a picaridin product for your baby. However, be aware that at the moment official pediatric organizations have not issued recommendations for the use of picaridin for children, but you can follow the same rules as in the case of diethyltoluamide: use the product only for children over two months old.
- You can order mosquito repellents with picaridin in foreign online stores. Picaridin is found in several repellents from foreign companies such as OFF, Cutter Advanced and Sawyer Premium.
- Depending on the concentration of picaridin, a repellent can provide protection from mosquitoes for three to eight hours. The concentration of picaridin in repellents usually ranges from 7% to 20%. Products with a concentration of 5-10% provide protection for 1-2 hours, while a concentration of 20% provides protection for 4-5 hours. Higher concentration provides slightly longer protection.
- Only apply picaridin repellent to exposed skin or under clothing that mosquitoes can bite through. Do not apply the product to the area around the eyes and mouth, or to parts of the hands that the child might pull into their mouth or want to scratch their eyes with.
Step 5. Consider using natural repellents
Nowadays, repellent manufacturers are increasingly offering products with essential oils such as citronella, cedar, eucalyptus, soy and others. As with picaridin, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States announced that some essential oil mosquito repellents are as effective as diethyltoluamide repellents. Consider using these natural remedies if you don't want to apply harsh chemicals to your baby's delicate skin. Be sure to read all of the information on the label, as some products may not be suitable for children under three years of age.
- To familiarize yourself with the active ingredients, be sure to read the composition of any potentially natural repellent that you intend to purchase (for example, from Levrana, Mosquitall, Gardex and others). Please note that it is not uncommon for these repellents to be non-toxic and hypoallergenic to provide even more protection for your child.
- Repellents based on natural ingredients should be applied every 1.5–2 hours to maximize the protection of your baby from mosquitoes.
Step 6. Treat clothing with permethrin repellents
Permethrin is another chemical repellent that successfully repels mosquitoes. However, unlike other repellents, it cannot be applied to the skin. They should handle clothes and other items that you wear or use outside. Currently, there is no age limit in the use of things treated with permethrin. But you can use the same recommendations as for DEET and other repellents without using permethrin on babies under two months old.
Be aware that traces of permethrin will remain on baby clothes and other items even after several washes
Step 7. Use the correct repellent technique
Your job is to give your child the best possible protection against mosquitoes. Therefore, the proper application and subsequent removal of both chemical and natural repellents will protect your baby not only from mosquito bites, but also from the use of potentially dangerous substances. Regardless of which repellent you choose, use the following guidelines for its use for children.
- Do not use repellents on babies under two months old, or on wounds or cuts.
- Read the label information carefully, including the instructions for use of the product.
- Spray the repellent outdoors to avoid breathing in.
- Do not spray repellent on the child's face. Instead, spray it on your hand and then wipe it on your baby's face or use a repellent cream at all.
- Use just enough repellent to cover your baby's exposed skin and avoid unnecessarily reapplying.
- When your child returns home, wash off the repellent from their skin with soap and water.
Part 2 of 2: Protecting your environment from mosquitoes
Step 1. Take control of the interior of your home
Some measures can help you keep insects out of your home. Environmental control measures such as using ventilators at home and removing stagnant puddles in your yard can make your home unattractive to mosquitoes.
- Repair or replace broken windows or torn mosquito nets.
- Install a window, ceiling or classic fan in the nursery (and, if possible, in other rooms). Fans make it difficult for mosquitoes to fly normally.
- Get rid of standing water in your yard as it attracts insects and encourages their reproduction. Empty your birdbaths, fill in puddles, and if you have a pool, cover it with an awning.
Step 2. Keep your child away from mosquito congestion areas
Tree plantations and standing water, including puddles and ponds, attract mosquitoes and encourage their reproduction. Keep your child away from the following areas that are attractive enough for mosquitoes:
- from garbage cans;
- puddles and ponds with stagnant water;
- flower beds;
Step 3. Put the mosquito net on the cradle (stroller, crib) with the baby
If you go outside or have a lot of mosquitoes at home, try to protect your baby's bassinet and crib with a mosquito net. Get a mosquito net that is small enough to keep out mosquitoes. Special mosquito nets for cribs, strollers and bassinets can be purchased at children's stores; regular mosquito nets are often sold at hardware stores and supermarkets. Protect the following areas with mosquito nets:
- car seats and cradles;
- play arenas.
Step 4. Spread lavender bags or pads all over the baby
To improve the effectiveness of mosquito nets, protective clothing and other mosquito control measures, use lavender in the nursery. Lavender pouches can keep mosquitoes from attacking your little one.
- Place dried lavender in small cloth bags or small pillowcases to make lavender sachets. You can purchase dried lavender or dry it yourself by cutting flowers from a live plant you have.
- Place the sachet strategically in areas that a curious child cannot reach. Think about wardrobes, chests, and other areas in your child's room.
Step 5. Light a citronella candle
There is evidence that citronella essential oil repels mosquitoes and other insects. Consider using candles with 5-10% citronella essential oil outdoors to protect your child and the rest of the family.
- Let the candle burn during your time in nature. The essential oils in the candle evaporate quickly, and if you put it out, you and your child will very soon be left without protection from street mosquitoes.
- Be sure to keep the candle at a safe distance from your child so that he does not burn himself or breathe in smoke and fumes.
Step 6. Forget about repellent bracelets, insect traps and ultrasonic repellents
Many companies talk about the benefits of using insect traps, repellent bracelets and ultrasonic repellents. But these devices are not able to provide the baby with adequate protection from mosquito bites, so it is better to refuse them. In addition, the bracelets are often impregnated with chemicals that can harm the child if he decides to pull the bracelet into his mouth.